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Russia: Gas flow to resume within days

  • Story Highlights
  • Russian President Medvedev says gas flow to Europe will resume in days
  • Medvedev hosted summit talks Saturday aimed at resolving dispute with Ukraine
  • Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko also attended talks
  • Shutdown has left many European countries without natural gas
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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Gas will resume flowing "in the next few days," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told reporters following summit talks in Moscow aimed at resolving the ongoing dispute between Ukraine and Russia which has left many parts of Europe without natural gas.

A woman passes in front of a manometer set on a gas pipe in the Ukrainian city of Boyarka, near Kiev.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was in Moscow Saturday for talks with Russian leaders.

Medvedev said the summit talks, which also involved Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, had raised a number of "interesting ideas," including loans and extensions of credit aimed at resolving the crisis. But he reiterated that no agreement had been reached.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said the meeting highlighted Russian efforts to enlist major European gas companies as a part of an international consortium that would subsidize Ukrainian payments to ensure gas deliveries from Russia.

"Preliminary willingness (to join the consortium) has been stated by Eni, which was the first to do so, then by Ruhrgas, Wingas, Gaz de France, OMV, and Gasterra," Kupriyanov told Russian news agency Interfax.

On Friday, Putin said Ukraine required about $730 million of "technical gas" to resume export deliveries from Russia.

It has now been 11 days since much of Europe was cut off from crucial supplies of Russian natural gas because of the dispute between Russia and Ukraine, which is in charge of pipelines carrying gas to the continent. The taps remain shut despite a deal signed in Brussels earlier this week.

The European Union has tried to pressure Russia and Ukraine into sorting out the matter, calling into question their reliability as energy suppliers.

Russia has said the dispute is not bilateral.

Tymoshenko said ahead of the trip that her top priority was to resume Russian natural gas transit to Europe in order to protect Ukraine's reputation as a transit country and prevent the empty pipelines from suffering damage as a result of being idle. Video Watch how a simple price dispute led to the crisis »

"The government takes full responsibility for resolving the crisis in relations with Russia, which was not initiated by us," Tymoshenko said in a statement on the government's Web site.

The prime minister said she would press for direct relations between Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's state-run gas company Naftogaz and "mutually beneficial prices" for gas and transit.

It was prices and cost that caused the problems in the first place. Russia cut off Ukraine's domestic gas supply at the start of the year, claiming nonpayment of debt, and the two sides failed to agree on the terms for a new contract.

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Six days later, in a move each side blamed on the other, Russian gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine were turned off as well. Video Watch how Slovakia has been affected by the gas row »

"There is the need to compromise in order to preserve friendly relations between Ukraine and Russia, and to uphold the reputation of both countries in Europe," Tymoshenko said. "I am sure that such compromise will be brokered."

CNN's Matthew Chance contributed to this report.

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